Pregnancy is a beautiful stage in any woman’s life. To become a mother is among the biggest blessings ever and is a journey that’s full of exciting highs and lows. That first word, the first step, and then off to school – it’s an amazing thing to watch what you created grow! However, if it’s your very first child, you may sometimes end up missing the first signs of pregnancy. This can lead to neglecting oneself, and, as a result, neglecting that bundle of joy growing in you. So, we come up with some serious stuff to help women identify these crucial first signs of pregnancy. Also important is that you know the next step is – what early pregnancy precautions you need to take. So, let’s get started!
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Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms and When They Start
What many women aren’t aware of is that the first week of your pregnancy is calculated on the basis of your last or previous menstrual period. Simply put, what this means is that your last period is thought to be your first pregnancy week – yes, even if you hadn’t become pregnant yet. Based on the first day of your previous menstrual cycle, your delivery date will be calculated. You should also keep in mind that even though you may not show any pregnancy symptoms during the initial few weeks, these will still be calculated and included in your nine-month gestation period.
Now you know how the due date and gestation period are calculated. Next, let’s have a look at what the first signs of pregnancy are and then begin to show. Mind you, this is a good estimate but may still differ from woman to woman. So, in case you do not experience some of the symptoms listed here, that doesn’t mean you aren’t pregnant.
1. Mild spotting and cramps
During week 1, the pregnancy is still at the very cellular stages. What this means is that the egg is fertilized and is on the way to produce the organs of your baby. Then, it will attach itself to the endometrium. This is when you will experience mild bleeding accompanied by pain. It’s called implantation bleeding and is most often misunderstood to be a light menstrual period. Usually, the color of the fluid varies from brown and pink to red. The bleeding itself is very often confused to be a period. Spotting, on the other hand, is described as the presence of blood only during wiping. Most women also experience cramps or sometimes, severe pain during this time. This is normal in the conception stage. The pain may be moderate, light or severe depending on the individual.
2. A missed period
This is among the first signs of pregnancy anyone can easily catch. Once the fertilized egg has been implanted, you will most likely miss your very next period – say four weeks later. This is because your body begins to produce a certain kind of hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin or simply hCG. Why is this important? Well, it’s highly important as this is the very hormone that will help your baby to grow. It’s the one responsible for stopping your ovaries from releasing any more mature eggs.
You will begin to feel tired a lot for no apparent reason. This is one of the first pregnancy symptoms to identify. It happens because your body is producing high levels of the hormone progesterone which makes you feel really sleepy all the time. Know that this is a sign of pregnancy and take the necessary early pregnancy precautions like getting enough rest.
4. Heightened heart rate
When you get pregnant, one of the first signs is that your heart rate will considerably increase. Your heart will beat harder and faster as a result of the hormonal changes your body is experiencing. But worry not. Such kind of palpitations is quite normal during pregnancy. Only, if you begin to feel strained because of it, ask your doctor if something needs to be done about it.
5. Changes in breasts
One of the first signs of pregnancy is that your breasts will experience a considerable amount of change. They will feel tender and tingly for a while because of the hormonal changes your body is experiencing. They will also become larger, especially the areola (the colored region around your nipples) that may expand quite a bit. However, even if this causes you discomfort, be assured that your body will adjust to these changes after a couple of weeks.
6. High temperature
The very basic body temperature that’s usually normal for you will change once you are pregnant. Your body will be warmer than usual but be assured that this kind of increased body temperature is quite normal during pregnancy. You will notice this more obviously after working out in hot weather. During this time, take early pregnancy precautions such as staying hydrated and not pushing your body too much.
7. Incontinence or frequent urination
This is among the first signs of pregnancy that most women mistake for some other ailment. Since your heart is pumping extra during this time, your bladder works overtime and produces more than the usual amount of fluids. While it may seem unnerving, this is quite normal and nothing to worry about. So, even if you feel like you need to run to the bathroom too many times a day or end up leaking along the way, fret not, it will pass.
8. Mood swings
Among the first signs of pregnancy is that you will feel more than usually snappy. Even the slightest irritation may lead to massive meltdowns. This is because of the sudden hormonal changes your body is experiencing and nothing to worry about. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore what you’re feeling and ride through the storm. Take your doctor’s advice on how to deal with terrible and unpredictable mood swings.
9. Nausea and morning sickness
One of the earliest pregnancy symptoms is nausea accompanied by morning sickness. You will feel nauseated by certain smells, types of food, or sometimes, by nothing at all. Also, there may be vomiting spells as well so be ready for those as morning sickness hits. But be warned that just because it is called morning sickness doesn’t mean it will occur only in the mornings. It can hit anytime so be ready to deal with it and take the appropriate early pregnancy precautions.
10. High blood pressure
During pregnancy, it is common for your blood pressure to drop or go high. This is caused by the expansion of blood vessels as a result of the hormonal changes that your body is experiencing. This is among the first signs of pregnancy and must be dealt with carefully because it can cause you to feel dizzy and tired. Make sure to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor and get in under control.
11. Constipation and bloating
You may experience constipation during the early stages of your pregnancy. This is normal and due to the changes in hormonal levels in your body. Also, you may experience bloating as well. Your body will swell to a certain extent just like (or more so) it does during your menstrual cycles. There is no need to worry. Simply, use your doctor’s advice to deal with these the correct way.
12. An aversion to food
One of the first signs of pregnancy is that your sense of smell will intensify. What this means is that you will smell things a lot quicker and more accurately during your first trimester. This can sometimes lead to an aversion to certain types of food owing to the smell. Sometimes, women will completely change their food preferences and it may stay that way post-pregnancy as well. This need not necessarily be a bad thing.
13. Acne and weight gain
Well, yes, you are pregnant. So, naturally, expect to put on a bit of weight. During the first trimester itself, you will begin to gain a bit of weight and as the pregnancy progresses, this will intensify. Your body needs twice as much now and naturally, this is the process that needs to occur. Having said that, you mustn’t eat uncontrollably and maintain healthy body weight. This will make your pregnancy easier and your delivery that much more stress-free.
Early Pregnancy Precautions You Need To Take
Once you’ve identified the first signs of pregnancy, it’s time to take the next step – the kind of precautions you should take during these crucial nine months. This is an important step as it will make the entire process that much easier as well as safe for your baby and you. Here are the precautions you need to take during your pregnancy – the first one or otherwise:
1. Regular medical checkups
This is among the most significant things you must do once you’ve confirmed you’re pregnant. Make sure to visit your doctor routinely and get a thorough checkup done every single time. This is to help keep your blood pressure, heart rate, and other things in control during your pregnancy. So, don’t skip this step to ensure your baby’s and your safety.
2. Quit smoking and alcohol
One of the most important early pregnancy precautions is to completely stop smoking. You must also stop drinking any kind of alcohol. These are extremely harmful for your baby as well as you. So, if you have the urge to light up a smoke or take a drink, seek help from your doctor on how to deal with them. If you happen to be a chronic smoker or drinker, it’s best to quit under medical supervision.
3. Reduce caffeine consumption
You need not completely cut off caffeine. However, consuming too much of it is highly risky as it increases the chances of miscarriage. So, limit yourself to about 200 grams a day, even less is you can. While you’re at it, you should also reduce your consumption of energy drinks, colas, and other such potentially harmful and unhealthy drinks.
4. Eat right
Remember that when you’re pregnant, you are eating for two. So, make sure your baby and you get the right amount of nutrients to stay healthy. While you can eat pretty much anything you want, you should cut down on certain cheeses, undercooked or raw meat, few dairy products, and other such things that may end up harming your baby.
5. Take the right supplements
Another of the most important early pregnancy precautions is to take the right supplements your body needs to make sure your baby (or you) is not under stress. Ask your doctor and take folic acid, multivitamins, and any other supplements your body may need to maintain a healthy pregnancy. This is extremely important after you’ve identified the first signs of pregnancy.
6. Keep a track of your baby’s development
We don’t just mean via doc visits. You can also read up as much as you can about pregnancies and how babies develop week-by-week within the womb. Get a scan during your visits to the doctor to check that everything is fine with your baby. If there is an abnormality, it is best to catch it early and start the treatment immediately.
7. Stay active
You don’t have to give up on exercising when you’re pregnant. In fact, it is best if you stay as fit and active as you can since it will help with the pregnancy and birthing process. Also, it will aid you to manage the weight gain that comes with pregnancy. However, ensure not to put too much pressure on your body as this will have an adverse effect.
8. Pamper yourself
Identifying the first signs of pregnancy is just the initial step. Taking early pregnancy precautions is the next. However, having a massage, signing up with a birthing club, getting your partner involved in every stage, and doing plenty of other such stuff will ensure you have a happy pregnancy and not just a healthy one.